The gullible nature of Conservative and Mainstream Liberal Foreign Policy
The United States has become almost entirely dependent on the the good will and stability of the Chinese Communist Party for manufacture of computer boards and many types of electronic components. Much of what manufacturing is not yet in mainland China is in Taiwan. And it’s not just the components that are made in China, the machines to manufacture the components are more and more made in China (including ones with US or Japanese company names on them). And yet, the “free trade” economics ideology that dominates US economic decision making is based on the assumption that nothing can go wrong. The Chinese government would never interfere in deliveries for political reasons, disorder or rebellion or even environmental collapse in China is impossible, the rock bottom shipping costs based on cheap diesel (and foreign flag shipping) are ordained by fate or something. And many of the same people who demand massive levels of military spending for new equipment (that relies on Chinese made components) consider the idea of government industrial policy to preserve and grow US high tech manufacturing “socialism” or worse.
Any critique of this head-in-the-sand attitude it met with the usual false dichotomy argument. One can favor international trade (as I do) and still want to preserve US manufacturing capabilities.One doesn’t even have to consider China a particularly hostile country to consider the condition of dependency to be unstable.
Few of the people who are now raising the alarm over Vlad Putin’s new army were interested when some of us environmentalist wackos warned that sending billions and billions of Euros to Russia to pay for oil and gas was perhaps not so prudent. Well, Vlad has been busy spending that money modernizing the Russian Army. The continued Western tidal wave of money sent to the terrorist financing theocrats in Saudi Arabia and Sudan doesn’t seem to bother the “serious” Foreign Policy thinkers. The proliferation of off shore banking and “free movement of capital” that our Doctrinaire Economists find so wonderful is a gift to terrorists, pirates, drug dealers, and tax avoiders but hardly anyone concerned with security seems, concerned.
Here’s the bottom line: trade is political too, just like everything else. This was true back when US oil companies and scrap dealers were helping Imperial Japan test out its new airforce in Manchuria, when the Koch Brothers dad was selling oil technology Stalin, and when Germany and the UK fund Putin’s military because “the free market” has decreed Russian gas to be cheap.